Business of Farming Conference 2013: 30 Direct Marketing Ideas
30 Ideas for Direct MarketersBridget Kennedy
Most businesses, even small ones, try to selltheir product “to everyone.” They seek out big ideas to reach as manypeople as possible with the most genericmessage.
Businesses… with a ton of money to invest because they are sellingsomething that costs a ton of money that naturally have a massive audience that are extremely relevant to people traveling onthat highway or road (gas stations, fast food, hotels, major attractions) Could make sense for a farmers market or farmdestination in some circumstances.
You want to do the exact opposite: sell yourproduct “to one person”.You want your product or service narrowlytargeted to reach a focused segment of thepopulation.
This narrow focus is called a “market segment”. You can segment people by all kinds of factors,like: Gender or age Price willingness Interests Location Religion or ethnicity Income Size of Household Local vs. tourist Etc.
She is married. She has two children ages 7 and 10. They go to Emma Elementary, 2nd and 5th grade. She is trained as a CNA and works a 12 hourovernight shift at the hospital 3 days per week. She spends a lot of time caring for her elderlyparents. Her interests outside of family & work include: Watching cooking shows on TV. Cooking. Clemson U. sports teams Weight loss Researching her family tree Facebook
If you are a direct marketer, you could spendthe next year exclusive focused on thismarket segment. This would be smart! How do we use the simple fact of affiliationwith a school to attempt to reach eachparent 3-5 times with your message?
1: Sponsor school sports events in exchangefor logo placement/mention at those events. 2: Advertise in the yearbook or monthlynewsletter if they have one. 3: Sponsor school plays and other functionsthat have a printed program.
4: Offer cooking classes or classroomdemonstrations. 5: Outreach to teachers and schooladministrators about educational field tripsto your farm. 6: Donate product to PTO fundraisers andother school events. Your idea here. There are others.
Parents of school-age kids will tend to followcertain patterns in media consumption: 7: Some cable TV consumption “over shoulder”of kids, or with them. Classic example: AnimalPlanet. Cable TV can be purchased by network,by show, by county. 8: Predictable drive time radio. Somepredictability to format choice, based on age andother factors. Focusing on a specific drive timeon weekdays on a station with a local signal is anaffordable way to do radio.
Parents of school-age kids will tend to followcertain patterns in media consumption: 9: Some communities have targeted print mediafor this group, such as: WNC Parent (Asheville Citizen-Times) Summer camp guides or summer activity guides(special inserts/editions of your weekly paper)
10: “Buying Club” type marketing can work wellin any place with a critical mass of people – anda school is a great example. You don‟t have tocall it a buying club. Create some kind of bulk presentation of yourproduct with a small discount over what you wouldusually sell it for one at a time. Maybe it‟s: Apples by the bushel Side of freezer beef Case of 12 dozen eggs a week . . . Etc. Create a marketing piece that tries to recruitleader/partner marketers to coordinate purchasing ofthis item. Maybe this “captain” gets an extra discountfor pulling in 10 customers for you. Make it be “about them.”
Don‟t just do one of these things. You arecreating a coordinated program. You are trying to reach the same person 3-5times with a consistent message. In doing so, you are going to reach otherpeople like them, as well. Don‟t do anything just once unless you canreally convince yourself it was a bad idea. Be patient.
She wants to lose weight. Therefore she has a focus on health/exerciseand is specifically willing to spend moneyand time in those areas right now.
11: Provide rack cards or bulletin boardmaterial to local gyms. Especially good ideafor produce CSAs as you are seekingsubscribers during “New Years Resolutionseason.” 12: Introduce yourself to nutritionists, hearthealth centers, and similar health providers. 13: Sponsor athletic events like a 5k.
14: Add lots of nutrition facts about productsoffered and keywords to your website. Add arecipe section (a good idea anyway). 15: Connect with natural food storeshowever you can. With consolidation of theindustry they may not be able to buy yourproduct, but they may be able to host youfor talks, print a story you wrote in anewsletter, or put something on theirbulletin board. 16: Use targeted radio, TV, or newspaper. TV:food network in your county; Radio: health-related call-in show; Newspaper:health/exercise column.
17: Meet with their HR director. Talk about localfood as an employee benefit. Many majorworkplaces have “lunch „n learn” type programsthat you could provide. 18: This could open the door to have posters orother materials in break rooms or public areas ofthe workplace. 19: Place paid ads in employee newsletters. 20: Find one friend/ally on the inside. Offerthem a free share/product/etc. if they will bethe “captain” in spreading the word about adirect-ordering/delivery system. 21: Offer to provide a “farm stand” on a certainday of the week – either just your farm or youand a couple friendly producers.
We‟re just listing ways to reach one person(and similar cohorts) based on a narrow setof characteristics, and it‟s STILL impossibleto do it all. You could spend all your marketing time andmoney for the next year on the last 6 steps,and you might have some hope of reachingJulie, as busy and distracted as she is. So why have you been trying to reacheveryone! It‟s impossible!
Let‟s depart from Julie and apply the samekind of thinking to a different target market. How about second home owners in themountains?
“Hey Bridget, this has been an intriguingworkshop, but I‟ve analyzed all the „marketsegments‟ in the places around me and theymostly have one thing in common:These people are all broke!”
Use coupons that promote value, notdiscount or cheapness. “Value” means a fair price but also refers tothe perceived value of your product. Couponsare popular, but you do not want to cheapenyour product; you want to increase its value,and the right kind of coupon can do that. Examples . . .
26: A free tour of your farm with a purchasegreater than $X. 27: A free sample of one of your lesser-sold orless-understood products with a purchasegreater than $X of a more popular product. 28: Receive free product for referring a friendto a major purchase.
Things that have a high price are notnecessarily more profitable. They usuallyhave a higher production cost and moreproduction risk, and a rarer, smallermarketing audience. The price is high forgood reasons. Yet farmers seem drawn to high-priceditems, as if they will make more money.
Don‟t count onword of mouth towork magically byitself. Customerssay “I heard it froma friend” whichtends to make usundervalue otherkinds of earned andpaid advertising.
In truth, what people really mean is “I heard itfrom a friend and then I saw your sign and then Isaw your rack card and then I saw an article aboutyou in the paper, and that reminded me to callyou.” But what they remember is the friend.So do invest early in having nice looking,consistent, web and print materials, and regularad placements (however small) in the media readby your target customers. EVEN IF you think ofword of mouth as your primary strategy.
Start this early and never stop. Get email addresses and mailing addresses, itis better if people opt in to gettingcommunication from you. Send mass e-mail or mail communicationselectively: make sure you are offeringsomething “real” like a special promotion, anopportunity to visit the farm, a great recipe,etc. Social media like Facebook are good forputting out that steady supply of “slightlyless newsworthy” information.
It is especially important to get contactinformation for customers. Train everyone who represents your farm toask for this information, and create sign-upsystems to make it easy. It is ten times easier to sell something else toan existing customer who loves your business(or to get a referral from that customer)than it is to find a new customer.